Archive for the 'Windows' Category

10 ways that Windows is better than Mac OS

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Having used both Windows and Mac OS X over the years, there’s little doubt in my mind that my Mac is, overall, nicer to use than any Windows PC. And of course, this is a Mac blog, so many of my posts invariably end up singing the praises of Macs and all things Apple.

However, as it’s the season of goodwill and all, I thought it fitting to redress the balance and list 10 things that Windows does better than Mac OS

1. Windows is more customizable

Change the desktop theme – including wallpaper, taskbar, window styles and fonts – to anything you like. Try doing that on a Mac.

2. Windows is more compatible

Let’s face it – practically all software and peripherals out there support Windows. (Though the Mac is getting better all the time in this regard.)

3. Choose your own hardware

With Windows you’re not tied into one manufacturer with a limited product range like you are with Mac OS (Psystar notwithstanding). On a budget? Any cheap clone will run Windows. Want something that exactly matches your lifestyle or situation? The range of PC options is huge so you’re bound to find something that suits.

4. Better keyboard shortcuts

You can access any menu option in a Windows app with 2 or 3 keystrokes, and they’re the same standard keystrokes on any Windows PC. With Mac apps you’re limited to the shortcuts chosen by the app developer. (You can add your own shortcuts on a per-app basis, but then you have to remember which shortcuts you’ve added for each app. And what happens if you get a new Mac, or use a friend’s? You have to redo all your shortcuts again!)

Furthermore, you can access pretty much all controls in any Windows dialog or window via the keyboard. Mac OS lets you turn on so-called “full keyboard access”, but there are still many things you can’t do with the keyboard (try moving from the Calendars pane to the Day/Week/Month View pane in iCal, for example, or activating the all-important Scan button in Image Capture). (more…)

Getting Windows XP under Parallels printing to a Mac network printer

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Windows printer iconSo here’s today’s little teaser. My wife runs Windows XP under Parallels on her iMac, and she wants to print to the printer that’s connected to my iMac. How’s it done? The obvious thing would be to share the printer on my iMac (System Prefs > Sharing > Services > Printer Sharing, followed by System Prefs > Print & Fax > Sharing > Share these printers with other computers > [check the box next to the printer]), but of course that would be too easy, so it doesn’t work. In Windows XP I tried Start > Printers and Faxes > File > Add Printer > Next > Network printer > Next > Browse for a printer > Next (phew!) but, although the iMac’s name appears in the list, it shows no printers attached. Sodding thing.

After much mucking about trying to get the ever-stubborn Windows XP to recognize the printer, I came up with a nice bit of lateral thinking. What about Bonjour for Windows? Bonjour (previously known as Rendezvous) is the Mac’s zero-config system allowing auto-discovery of stuff on a network, such as computers, printers and routers – and, handily, they make a Windows version, too. It’ll never work, surely…!

Seriously, it was as simple as:

  • Download the EXE
  • Double-click said EXE to open it in Windows XP (in Parallels)
  • Run the setup (no reboot required!)
  • Double-click Bonjour Printer Wizard on the desktop
  • Click Next
  • There’s my printer! Click it, then click Next twice followed by Finish
  • Boom!, as Steve Jobs would say – the printer is installed, and usable under Windows XP.

Why can’t Windows always be as straightforward as that? ;)

Parallels

Friday, May 12th, 2006

mac_linux_win.jpgParallels Workstation is another reason that I’ve finally decided to get a Mac. I really need to run Windows, Mac OS and Linux at the same time to do browser testing for stuff like the PageKits, and ideally I want to do it all on one machine (space is limited in my little office). Well now for the first time I can, thanks to this nifty bit of software and also Apple’s move to Intel.

For the above reason I’m not really interested in Boot Camp (rebooting just to test a website in Windows would be a right pain), but Parallels Workstation fits the bill perfectly. Judging by this Macworld review, it’s pretty speedy and easily capable of running the 3 operating systems at once.

Yay! No more nagging Si to test PageKits in Mac browsers. Parallels will be on my shopping list as soon as (a) it’s out of beta and (b) my wallet has recovered from buying the Mac. I’ll also need to get myself a copy of Windows XP of course (Home edition should do the trick). My poor bank account!

Why not Windows?

Monday, May 8th, 2006

windows.jpgSo I want to move away from Linux as my main OS. Why not just install Windows XP instead?

Well I could, of course. Though I’d still want to buy a new PC, as my current one is getting a bit long in the tooth (7 years and counting, bless it). But frankly I just don’t like using WinXP that much. I had to use it on-site the other week and couldn’t wait to get back to my nice slick Linux desktop!

I guess I just love the UNIX way now after 8 years with Linux. Not having a bash shell to drop into… disturbs me. (I did install Cygwin recently on my Windows 2000 laptop, which helped a bit. How do Windows users cope without rsync? ;) )

I also get the impression that Windows isn’t that much more stable than Linux. After all it still has a million different hardware combinations to deal with, just like Linux. The other day I booted my Windows laptop and it claimed that the network card that had been in there for weeks was “new hardware”, and proceeded to use up 20 minutes of my valuable time while I scrambled for the driver CD. Grr…!

So it wouldn’t be a step forward on the reliability front. Whereas all Mac users will tell you how rock-solid Macs are, right? (Except for Si, whose Mac seems to need rebooting every time he starts up Skype. ;) )

Anyway, I want to try something new and exciting! I’ve never used a Mac (well, I’ve used one once or twice to surf the web I guess) so it’s all going to be wonderfully different. Even if I end up hating the Mac and moving back to a PC – well, at least I tried it. In fact thanks to Apple’s move to Intel I can keep the Mac and run Windows and Linux on it too – either dual booting or at the same time as OS X. Life doesn’t get any better than that! :)